Brendan Howlin: Ministers who vote against 8th amendment Bill should resign

Ministers who vote against the government in an upcoming Bill on repealing the Eight Amendment should resign, Labour leader Brendan Howlin has said, writes Irish Examiner Political reporter Elaine Loughlin.

It comes as the Independent Alliance is demanding a free vote when a Bríd Smith of the AAA-PBP brings a Bill before the Dáil to allow a referendum on the Eight Amendment.

But Mr Howlin said "it's a matter for the government to sort out their own house" but added that any member of Government who disagrees with cabinet should step down.

“Under the constitution, there is a constitutional imperative that the Cabinet acts as a collective. That’s not a matter of choice, that’s not a matter of debate. That’s a constitutional imperative so it would be extraordinary in the extreme on any issue if the collective decision of Cabinet wasn’t adhered to at all,” Mr Howlin said.

“The long standing convention is that any member of the Government who disagrees with the position of Cabinet resigns from that Cabinet,” he added.

Mr Howlin said that the Labour party would be supporting the AAA-PBP Bill which will be discussed in the Dáil on Tuesday.

Labur are due to bring a Bill before the Dáil this evening which is designed to tackle the behaviour of rogue crisis pregnancy agencies.

Speaking ahead of this Mr Howlin said: "While the debate around repeal of the Eighth begins in communities across Ireland, there are women who right now are being lied to in the most grotesque fashion, at a time of exceptional vulnerability.

"Women in crisis pregnancy situations are being told that abortion increases a woman’s risk of breast cancer, or that women who have had abortions will later abuse or neglect their children."

He said this behaviour is "an appalling abuse of a position of trust and power" and said it must be brought to an end.

Mr Howlin added: "Today, the Labour Party is introducing to the Dáil legislation that will require those who provide counselling services to women experiencing crisis pregnancies be registered and regulated. We will push this through the Dáil as quickly as we can, and hope that we will have the support of all political parties in doing so.

"These agencies are abusers. It’s time we all worked together to put their abuse to an end."

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